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Effects of Skin Tone and Facial Characteristics on Perceived Attractiveness: A Cross-Cultural Study

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A psychophysical experiment was conducted to study how cultural background of the observer may influence the impression of face images, in terms of attractiveness. Eighteen British and 16 African observers participated in the experiment. Each observer viewed 128 face images generated from six original faces, including three races (Caucasian, Oriental and African) and both genders, each manipulated by skin tone and facial characteristics (eye size, horizontal locations of the eyes, and nose length). The experimental results show that although British and African observers both preferred high chroma faces, for British observers the most attractive faces had a hue angle close to 41°, whereas African observers preferred more reddish faces. The two observer groups were found to disagree most for skin colours near (a*, b*) = (18, 16). The results also show that the observers tended to be more sensitive to changes in facial characteristics for the faces of their own race than for those of other races.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2011

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  • CIC is the premier annual technical gathering for scientists, technologists, and engineers working in the areas of color science and systems, and their application to color imaging. Participants represent disciplines ranging from psychophysics, optical physics, image processing, color science to graphic arts, systems engineering, and hardware and software development. While a broad mix of professional interests is the hallmark of these conferences, the focus is color. CICs traditionally offer two days of short courses followed by three days of technical sessions that include three keynotes, an evening lecture, and a vibrant interactive papers session. An endearing symbol of the meeting is the Cactus Award, given each year to the author(s) of the best interactive paper presentation.

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